In the first century, the Roman Empire defeated the over 1,000 year old nation of Judea, destroying it’s Holy Temple in Jerusalem and exiling hundreds of thousands of Jews, to erase all memory of Judea. Romans renamed it Palestine after the Jews biblical enemy, an Aegean people who had once settled along the coast. Afterward, the westerners referred to the Jewish-Christian Holy Land as Palestine. Arab people did not widely accept the name Palestine until the 20th century. Though the name has always been associated with Jews. In the 1960’s it became associated with the Arab-Palestinian nationalist movement.
For two Millennia after the Roman conquest, no other state or unique national group developed in Palestine, and no ruler chose Jerusalem as it’s capital. Instead, different empires and peoples came, colonized, ruled and disappeared. Jews remained throughout these changes. There numbers grew as exiled Jews returned in periodic waves of immigration; their numbers fell when the area’s rulers persecuted them.
Between 1517 and 1917, Palestine was an unimportant backwater of the sprawling Ottoman empire, which at it’s height in 1683, covered vast parts of the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe. it was separated into small sub districts within the large providence of Syria (and later Beirut). The Palestinian region initially prospered under the Ottoman’s, but during the empires decline it was reduced to a sparsely populated barren area.
When the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I(1914-1918), it’s lands were ceded to the victorious allies. Just as the Allies carved new nations out of Europe’s defeated empires, so too they carved nations out of the former Ottoman’s Empire and created most of the Middle Eastern states we know today, including Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. They also redrew Palestine’s boundaries and recognized it as the Jewish national home.